Aspirational cookery skills from Alex at Feed the Brood to teach your kids during the holidays…
Now that the holidays are here, doing a little cooking together with the children is a useful option for keeping them busy whilst teaching them essential skills too.
It’s fairly normal to bake cupcakes and biscuits, but don’t forget that this right here is the perfect opportunity to pass on some real cooking skills to help your children learn how to make healthy meals for themselves and become more healthy and self-sufficient grown-ups.
To help you with your mission to teach your child to cook, I’ve made a Cookery Skills Wish List that you can print off, stick up in a kitchen cupboard and tick off over the weeks, months and years. The download is here and in case you’re unsure about the best way to teach something, here are some helpful hints and links to videos to get you started.
By the way, I have categorised these skills into under 7 yrs old and over 7 yrs old based on the idea that there would be very close adult supervision for all children, especially while dealing with sharp knives, hot water, the oven and the hob. You know your own child better than anyone, so follow your common sense as to whether you think your child is ready to learn something safely.
Up to age 7
♥ How to wash up
Surely the most essential skill? Thinking about water temperature, efficiency and soaking if needed.
♥ How to weigh using scales and measure fluids
Select a unit of measure, taring the scales, choosing the correct sized measuring jug for a task and reading a scale.
♥ How to use a grater safely
Top to bottom avoiding knuckles!
♥ How to set a timer
Depends on the timer you have available – I like to use my hob or Alexa.
♥ How to use a knife safely
Learn the ‘Bridge Hold’ and ‘Claw Hold’ to cut soft fruit with a child-safe knife at first, then build up to more difficult items.
♥ How to peel and crush garlic
Chop off the root to help remove the skin, then crush.
♥ How to chop peppers
Chop off the stalk, turn upside down and cut the flesh away from the seeds.
♥ How to fold in baking
Gently incorporating a beaten ingredient into another ingredient using cutting and scooping motions to avoid losing air
♥ How to recognise when something baked is ready
If a skewer comes out clean, it’s ready.
♥ How to bake a jacket potato
Oil, season and bake for an hour at 200°C – more details here.
♥ How to check whether pasta is cooked
Get an adult to fish a piece out and test it with a knife and maybe even try a bit.
Aged 7 & over
♥ How to boil water safely
Taking care with boiling water and spotting when bubbles are rapidly breaking the surface of the water.
♥ How to dice an onion
Chop off the top, peel, slice in half, slice first in one direction with the root face down and still attached. Then slice in the other direction to make a dice.
♥ How to boil an egg
Place an egg gently into boiling water. 8 mins for hard boiled, 6 mins for medium, 4 mins for snotty. Rapidly cool with cold water to avoid a grey ring around the yolk.
♥ How to melt chocolate
Chop chocolate into small pieces and either microwave or bain-marie* see How to boil water safely for double skills.
♥ How to cook rice
Rinse, rice 1:1.5 Cold Water, bring to boil, simmer with lid on for 7-8 mins.
♥ How to scramble eggs
Break eggs, beat, heat butter, add eggs and remove from heat when they reach the preferred consistency.
♥ How to flip a pancake
Learn the magical knack of pushing and pulling the pan to get the pancake to flip – worth practising with a cold cooked pancake if you can!
♥ How to whisk egg whites
Use a glass or metal bowl, separate yolks and recognise stiff peaks
♥ How to open and drain a tin
Using a tin opener and removing the lid safely.
♥ How to recognise when something is piping hot
When bubbles form at the edges and the food makes a hissing sound.
And there you have it, plenty of skills to focus on in the coming weeks, months and years beyond lockdown to turn your little foodies into competent home cooks for the future. Good luck and keep on cooking!
Alex has created a brilliant 8-week meal plan and recipe ebook to help save you time, money and effort when cooking family meals. It’s available to download here.
And she’s currently working on a brand new dietitian-approved online fussy eater programme which is almost ready to trial. Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in being involved in the beta group.
This is a collaborative post.